Englishman and award-winning actor Idris Elba went for a drive on a stretch of Welsh beach Sunday afternoon in his Bentley Continental GT, and shattered a nearly 90-year-old British land speed record in the process.
Known as the “Flying Mile,” the Pendine Sands area of South Wales is one of the longest uninterrupted stretches of sand in all of Britain, and has historically been used for record speed runs, as its tightly packed sands offer a smooth open surface.
Sir Malcolm Campbell set a record on the Pendine Sands in 1927, by topping out his Napier-Campbell Blue Bird racecar at 174.8mph. That record stood for 88 years… until this week.
For his upcoming Discovery Channel series Idris Elba: No Limits, which debuts this summer, Elba took his Bentley out for a go, and averaged 180.4 miles per hour over the full mile stretch, and hit a top speed of 186.4 miles per hour as he shot past the second marker.
According to CNN Money, the “Flying Mile” tests a car’s average by timing between two points one mile apart from each other. Instead of starting from a complete stop, a driver is permitted to get up to speed before entering the timed zone. The test is run twice within an hour; once each in opposite directions.
CNN Money reports the two-door Continental is powered by a 626 horsepower 12 cylinder engine and tops out at 206mph. According to Bentley, Elba’s car was a stock production model, and was not modified in any way for the test.
Following his 1927 “Flying Mile” record, Campbell went on to set a new world land-speed record in 1935.
On the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah, Campbell drove a 2,500-hp motorcar Bluebird twice over a one-mile course at speeds averaging 301.129 mph. the previous world record of 276.82mph had been set earlier in the year.